Thursday, November 13, 2008

Leaflet muddies lord mayoral race

Jason Dowling

THE battle for Melbourne's next lord mayor has turned nasty, with a Labor-aligned candidate launching an assault on the left-wing Greens in leaflets to be sent to thousands of homes and businesses.

In an attack reminiscent of state Labor's campaign for last year's Albert Park byelection, the leaflet from Labor Party member and lord mayoral candidate Peter McMullin starts with the message "No classes today, Greens Party have shut this school".

It goes on to say that it is the policy of the Greens to phase out selective government schools and asks: "Why does the Greens Party want to close MacRobertson Girls' High School & Melbourne High? And just why do people keep voting for the Greens with these type of policies?"

In the days leading up to the September 2007 Albert Park byelection, a letter authorised by the ALP's state secretary was sent to thousands of residents, criticising the Greens' policy of "phasing out selective schools". Greens' candidate Adam Bandt rejected the claim the party wanted to close schools.

He said the leaflets were a desperate smear.

"I think this shows that Labor is becoming increasingly desperate," he said.

"First they teamed up with the Liberals to run on a ticket, second they decided to preference the Liberals and now they're are delving into matters that are not even in the council's controls to try and run smear campaigns.

"This kind of negative campaigning has the hallmark of a desperate team."

Mr McMullin, who is in the same Labor Party right faction as Premier John Brumby, said the leaflet was justified.

"A lot of people within the City of Melbourne are making decisions about their education for their children and they need to know what the Greens' policies are," Mr McMullin said.

He said it was important that education was discussed, even though the council has no policy responsibility for it. Melbourne City Council had an "advocacy role" in the area.

Mr McMullin said the Greens were happy to talk about State Government transport issues.

Mr McMullin, who is a Labor Party member, said the leaflet was organised by his campaign and was not linked to the party's state headquarters.

Ballot papers for the election are being sent out and must be returned by November 28.

Read the original article at

No comments: